Guest post: The 2016 Reddit Geo-Secret Santa

Today we have a guest post by Reddit user /u/minerleaguegamer, who is starting an early blitz to promote the 2016 Reddit Geo-Secret Santa on Geocaching related blogs, vlogs, and social media. We encourage you to participate!


Hello readers!

Do you love sending and receiving presents? Are you an avid geocacher? Do you want to be part of a WORLDWIDE geocaching gift exchange? Than the Reddit Geo-Secret Santa wants you!

Last year, the first annual Geo-Secret Santa ran on Reddit with gift senders from all over the US. Check out some of the gifts exchanged: (Click any photo to enlarge in a lightbox window, hit the back button on your browser to return to the post).

This year we plan to make it bigger and more widespread, and want you to be part of the joy of giving!

What is Reddit? Reddit is a social website where users from different communities create groups, called “subreddits.” Subreddits can range from sharing cute pictures of animals to more specific hobbies, like geocaching. Users can subscribe to different subreddits to customize their front page. On each subreddit, users can post a variety of content, including links, pictures, or text posts, and they are rated up or down by other users. The /r/geocaching subreddit has been a community for over seven years.

How can you join this year’s festivities?

  1. Create a reddit account (www.reddit.com)
  2. Find and subscribe to the /r/geocaching subreddit. (www.reddit.com/r/geocaching)
  3. Join the mailing list (here on Google Forms) to be reminded when the time has come to sign up.
  4. In addition, help spread the word by placing these cards in caches! This is especially important if you live outside the US and don’t want to pay extra shipping costs. (Here on Google Drive).
  5. Signups start on Nov. 19, when a thread will be up with more information. Signups end and gifters are matched on Dec. 4. The shipping deadline is Dec. 18.

Questions? Contact me at [email protected]

Thanks, and see you soon!

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OpenCaching NA 5th Anniversary Pathtags on sale now!

finalhank1


After several delays, most notably getting our free Pathtag back that anyone can use for their tags up and running (our blog post about that here), The OpenCaching North America 5th Anniversary Pathtags are finally on sale to the general public. You can see them as the most recent item for sale on the main page of Thegeocoinstore.com. Alternatively, here is our Pathtag listing on that site.

Like our OCNA 1st edition Pathtag, released late summer, 2013, our 5th Anniversary tags can be purchased in lots of 20 for $20 from TheGeocoinStore.com under a “club fundraiser” program. You’ll note the listing for our tag on their website references us receiving $5 for every 20 pack sold. However, that applies only to registered non-profit LLC’s, one of which we are not (although we have, and still are considering, that legal status), so that $5 is payable only in Pathtag cash. The OCNA team will of course use this Pathtag cash to buy more of our own tags, which we will generously distribute to promote the website. We owe several tags to lucky players from our August, 2015 sitewide contest, and of course we will be giving some away on this blog. Perhaps even multiple times.

 

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Actual tag arrived after this post

The tag features The OCNA Mascot Hank the Hawk, and was created to commemorate our 5th Anniversary on August 18th, 2015. And yes, we did start the process long before then; we told you there were several delays. We certainly didn’t expect them to not be on sale until early 2016, but what can you do? Like Hank The Hawk himself, the tags were designed by Nancy of The Deadliest Cachers, a Geocacher from Derby, New York. Her cache page graphics are sort of legendary in Western New York. She has also designed several Pathtags for fellow Geocachers, as well as us. Feel free to contact her via her profile on Geocaching.com, as linked above, if you’re interested in her services.

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Guest Post: Tools of the trade: What every Geocacher needs

Every master tradesman has a toolbox full of the things he needs to ply his trade. A carpenter has hammers and nails, a mechanic has screwdrivers and wrenches, and an electrician has wire snips and needle-nose pliers. Geocachers are no different; they also need to fill their toolbox with the right tools in order to complete their treasure-hunting missions. Having just the right gadget for the job at hand, can make all the difference and add to the excitement.

Ask a bunch of geocachers what they carry in their packs or kits, and you will likely get a bunch of different answers. Most geocachers will agree that there are a number of items that every hunter must have, but there are also some that are influenced by the local weather and terrain, some that are dictated by the hunter’s level of experience, and some that are simply personal preference. Every geocacher needs a GPS device of some sort, a compass, a pen or pencil to add your entry to the logbook, some geoswag to leave or swap with items in the cache, a flashlight, drinking water, and a first aid kit – just in case!

So you’ve got your basics, what else can you add to your toolbox to make your hunting easier and more fun? Maybe you would like to bring along a camera to document your search or to photograph your findings so you can post pictures on your Facebook page. Perhaps some binoculars for checking out the wildlife or scenery as you close in on your coordinates. If the geocache you are hunting is hidden in a rocky area or up a steep climb, you might want to take a walking stick along. To more experienced hikers, that may seem silly, but one good save from a fall will make it all worth it

geocaching-metaldetectorMore and more geocachers are using metal detectors while on the hunt. There are several ways that adding a metal detector to your geocaching toolbox will enhance the adventure. Geocache containers are to be hidden within 20 feet of their given coordinates, making the area to be searched fairly large. Many of these containers are made of metal, or at least contain some metal parts, so a metal detector can make finding the container quicker and easier, especially if it is partially or completely covered by dirt, or hidden in the brush. For the avid hunter, a metal detector also makes it possible to geocache year-round. In colder climates, where there is snowfall in the winter, a metal detector comes in handy locating treasure covered by snow, and die-hard hunters don’t have to take a break for the season. If you geocache as a family, allowing the kids to use a detector while you hunt for a well-hidden cache may provide them (and you) a much needed distraction from the patience required, while still allowing them to feel involved in the game. Be sure to bring a whistle for the kids (a good safety item for everyone, really), and of course, you’ll have to throw some snacks in there, too.

Many geocachers also bring some replacement parts in their packs as well. You never know when a logbook may have gotten wet and needs to be changed out for future geocachers, or if a container has been damaged in some way. It’s a caching courtesy to take care of the treasure so others can continue to experience the thrill of finding the prize.

The items in your geocaching toolbox are likely to grow and change as you go about your hunting. Take what works for you and have a great time on your adventures!

gene_1fGene Knight is the Director of Sales at Kellyco Metal Detectors and an avid treasure hunter.

Contact him:

Phone: U.S. Toll-Free: 1-888-535-5926
Others: 407-699-8700
Extension: 106
Email: [email protected]

 


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OCNA Pathtag winners announced!


We have the winners of our 2nd Pathtag contest, which was billed as “Win some OCNA Pathtags part Deux”. All winners responded within about 3 hours of being notified via email on Monday morning, March 31st. It looks like we forgot to mention when announcing the winners of our last contest that beginning with that contest (The Travel Fleas Holiday Giveaway), we started using the website Random.org to choose the winner(s). We were inspired to do so by The Outdoor Blogger Network, which we are a member of, after noticing one of their very well done contests to win one of 5 pairs of hiking boots to review on your blog (obviously, we didn’t win!). Rebecca from The OBN actually makes videos of her prize drawings, but we’re not that advanced (yet). Watch the video, or above you see a screenshot of the website. You put in a Min. number (and our Google Docs entry forms start at 2), with a Max. of the number of the last entry on the form, and you simply hit “Generate”.

Our Grand Prize winner, of five of our Pathtags was Mark AKA themulcher, a Geocacher from Charlotte, North Carolina.The 2nd prize winner, of three Pathtags, was Ed AKA bmzdaddy, a Geocacher from Chesterfield, Missouri. The 3rd prize winner, of two Pathtags was Andy, whose children (ages 7 and 10) cache as g00fballz. They are from Prince George, British Columbia. Hey, our first international winner! Congratulations to all three of them!! Thanks to all who entered the contest as well.

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An interview with Geocaching Retailer Drives Cache Closet

Drives Cache Closet trailer

Our OCNA blogger recently became aware of Drives Cache Closet, a Geocaching retailer from Mesquite, Texas (suburban Dallas) owned by David and Anita Rives, via a Google Adsense ad on an internet radio station. Because believe it or not, he has never used any kind of adblocker software, actually likes seeing ads, and is known to visit Geocaching websites. A lot. So we poked around their website, asked them if our website could be listed on one of their many other websites, MyGeocaching.com, and asked if they’d like to be interviewed for a Geocaching blog. David was happy to answer some questions for us.

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The Space Coast Geocaching Store


The Space Coast Geocaching Store is located at 860 North Banana River Drive, in Merritt Island, Florida, and is owned by Dale and Barb Swinehart. It was the first brick and mortar Geocaching store in the United States. You can also buy many of their items online from their website at http://shop.spacecoastgeocachers.com/ (or alternatively, you can click on their banner above). There is a Facebook Fan Page, and you can sign up for their newsletter as well.

There are advantages of going there in person, should you find yourself in, or nearby the Space Coast Region of Florida (note the store is about 60 miles from Walt Disney World). Namely they sell more items in the actual store than online, and they host a large sized traditional cache outside (available only during business hours, or by appointment otherwise).  As of the date of this blog post, GC15RQB, A Cool Cache has been found almost 2,000 times, and has over 500 favorite points on Geocaching.com. This is the OCNA blog though, and we might note that Dale and Barb joined our website less than a week after it was launched in 2010, and cross-listed the cache as A Cool Cache and Store – OU004A, the 74th cache listed on our site. We contacted the owners via their profile on our website, and Dale was nice enough to take the time to conduct an email interview with our blog.

OCNA Blog: When did you first open The Space Coast Geocaching store? Did you put up the website and sell online as soon as it opened?
Dale: We opened the store September of ’07 and yes we had the store and website at that time.

OCNA Blog: Nice website, by the way. Are you the webmaster too?
Dale: Yes, I am the webmaster as well. I pretty much have learned as I go and am by no means a pro at it.

Trackable License Plate

OCNA Blog: The store is is open M-F from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, but only open by appointment on weekends. Why is that? Do you get a lot of requests for weekend visits?
Dale: We are only by appointment on the weekends because we are usually attending or hosting events on the weekends.  If we had posted hours for the weekend we would not be able to keep them so it works out better to work by appointment. Most cachers understand and it is not a problem. We try to meet folks any time we can if we are in town and available. We do get several requests to meet on weekends but not enough to justify having the store open regular hours on the weekend. It is something that may happen in the future but not for now.

OCNA Blog: Clicking on “All products” on your site returns 361 items. That represents fewer items than you sell in the actual store? 
Dale: The number of items listed in our online store is probably only about half of what we actually have in the store itself. There are so many things we only have one or two of in the store that I do not list everything. Besides, listing everything in the online store would make us like everyone else and not special to those that visit.  This way when you pay us a visit you get the entire experience of our store. Our store is like no other, even Groundspeak lackey’s were impressed when they walked into our old store. Our new store is way more impressive and set up as a casual, warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Battery Carrier

OCNA Blog: What are some of the best selling items, either online or in the store? 
Dale: Coins are always popular but containers of all kinds sell very well too. Our inventory is so diverse that saying one or two items are best selling would be hard. Our battery carriers, new geo license plates, and plastic ammo cans are some of our more popular items. Vehicle travel bug decals are very popular as well.

4 Oz. Mega Nano Container

OCNA Blog: You are a Groundspeak authorized retailer. Any other licensed products by other companies you are a retailer for?  
Dale: Besides being a Groundspeak Authorized retailer, we are authorized resellers for CoinsAndPins, Oak Coins, Cache-Advance, Geocoinstore, FTF Geocacher Magazine, as well as others. We are also authorized distributors for Rand Mcnally GPS units, Garmin GPS units and Geomatejr GPS units. We have recently been authorized to sell The Real Deal hats and bags line as well.

OCNA Blog: Are there any items that are manufactured exclusively for you? Space Coast Brand, if you will. 
Dale: We have several unique containers that are made by a local cacher that you can only find here. We also have our new vehicle trackable that we are selling. It is a decal with our logo and larger numbers to make it easier to be spotted.

Plano Plastic Ammo Can

OCNA Blog: What events will you be vending at in the remainder of 2013? How many events do you tentatively plan to attend in 2014? 
Dale: We have verbally confirmed several events for 2014. We are heading to GA next week to attend the Going Caching event, then the following weekend we will be in Florida at the Florida Finders Fest 9 event. Two weeks later we head across the state to a smaller local event the Pasco Geo Fest. We are also hosting several events in November. Next year we are planning to attend Cacheapalooza, MOGA, GWXII, possibly the Texas Challenge, Berkshire GeoBash, Midwest Geobash, GCHR Picnic in VA, NCGO fall fling possibly, Going Caching, Florida Finders Fest, Pinellas Geo Event and I am sure others that are smaller more local events.


Thanks so much to Dale for taking the time to answer our questions.The Space Coast Geocaching store certainly has it all, especially if you go there in person. And it does just happen to be less than an hours drive from arguably the most popular vacation destination in the United States. As you can see, they also have a busy Geocaching event schedule too, where they sell their wares, or you can browse the website, and order online. Remember to contact them first if you’ll be visiting the store on a weekend!

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